My 1973 UFO

004This month I have finally finished my oldest ever UFO, it’s 42 years old and it took me all of two evenings to finish it!! So this embroidery has sat in my work-box for over four decades for the sake of two evenings embroidery!


I started this embroidery when I was 8  years old, it was to match a cockerel I made the year before. The designs were both from the Needlewoman magazine and luckily I could just see the transfer lines still. Even luckier, I found on Google a photo of the original magazine with the Lyrebird on the front!

When I looked at the Lyrebird, there actually wasn’t that much to do, I couched some gold thread around the body and also used it to outline the legs and feet. The claws are satin-stitched with gold stranded cotton, I also used this for the unfinished ‘sparkles’ on the tail feathers. The ‘thighs’ of the bird were meant to have french knots on, this appears to be the point at which I gave up all those years ago. I think I know why, gold-work. I really don’t enjoy stitching with gold thread. Don’t get me wrong, I love the effect of gold-work embroidery, I just don’t enjoy doing it, somehow it doesn’t flow! I stitched gold beads on his thighs instead!


Finishing the Lyrebird was a bit of a balancing act, it was a fine line between stitching enough to consider it complete and embellishing a bit more which would highlight the difference between a child’s sewing and an adults. I was tempted to do more embroidery on the neck but decided I had done enough for this reason.


I took him down to Otley market to get framed, together with his mate the cockerel. I collected them on Saturday and thought Wow! What a difference a bit of framing makes! I shall hang them in my sewing room!

For more of the story behind the embroideries and more photos, please have a look at my blog. Can anyone beat this in vintage for a personal UFO?

9 thoughts on “My 1973 UFO

  1. This is AMAZING! So many years that you saved the piece… I can’t help but wonder how many times it got packed up in a box and moved? Congrats… I bet your UFO is the oldest! 🙂


  2. They look glorious! I can only imagine how satisfied you must feel now it’s complete – I feel good enough when I fix a button after a couple of weeks’ worth of procrastination; finishing something after that long must be positively euphoric!

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  3. Is there a prize for the oldest UFO! If there is I think you should win it Margaret! Thank goodness for the Monthly stitch or it might have sat there for even more years! Well done though, they both look stunning 🙂

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